Lost in the shuffle of the Miami Heat’s coronation is the terrible defensive effort the Thunder provided throughout the game. The end of the third quarter was a buzzsaw nobody could guard, but the rest of the game wasn’t. There were so many basic defensive breakdowns, the kind that even a young team can’t afford.
It’s a little too early to say who was responsible, but the Thunder big men were pretty bad in particular. Serge Ibaka finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting, but he was so off on every key rotation. Kendrick Perkins has a great reputation, but he was out of position so often. The perimeter players kept ushering the Heat into the lane with their dribble penetration, making life miserable for the big men.
In a game where the Thunder were fighting for their playoff lives, this kind of effort was stunning. What happened?